Next Year in Burlington

Well, it’s official.

Deferral

Went to see the doctor yesterday – acute case of PF, no fracture or whatever. Official ruling is no running until June. Which means that I’m Cycle, Cycle, Cycle, Swim, Swim, too until then.
(I’m also officially fatter than I’ve been in 5 years. Joy.)
Hmmm, now to plan.

Hey, amigos!

Wow – missed another month on the blog. Wish it were because I were taking an internet vacation, but I seem to have slipped into consumption mode much more than production mode. There’s something that’s lost there, and I kind of regret it.

Training for the Vermont City Marathon has gotten kind of scattershot – I’ve allowed work to come back to dominate my time, skipping workouts. I think there’s still plenty of time to recover the training plan, but am kind of disturbed that I slipped off so quickly.

I have been pretty regular at getting to spin class, and making about 75% of my runs, including all but one long run, so I don’t think I’m so far off, but I could be doing better.

Hellooo, Runna Neighbas

The rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated.

I’ve been having a good month, running-wise, if a little bit busy. Foregoing a fall marathon seems to have been the right decision; now to keep my weight moving down and my mileage moving up, and maybe spring will hold better news.

I’ve fallen in love with cycling again – key ride was the Bluff Point night ride that Mystic Cycle Center puts on – full moon and empty fire roads completely rocked. Though the monthly drill weekend rides have really, really helped, too.

Getting back to the pool has been good. This week’s triumph is two days in the pool, with more than 1000 yards each time. Little victories.

Lastly, Movember is coming. Go run.

Peanuts Nostalgia

Peanuts at comics.com

I hit the comic above today off of my Google Reader feed (follow me at ‘billjank’ – mostly I tag stuff about defense-related computer stuff, management idiocy, and a smattering of smart articles about how folks like you and I are getting shafted by both large banks and the Fed. Not that there’s a better solution, but it’s always nice to know with whom you’ve been intimate)

Anyway, Jon (who was in Michigan but is now much closer to the Hudson River) replied that Frazz seemed to be an influence, too.

As much as I love Mallett, I don’t think he’s much of an “influence”, but rather a mirror; a product of the same set of variables that made (warped) me into who I am today.

The next few paragraphs are what I wrote in response. I you might be able to follow it at Google Buzz. If you are, drop me a comment – I’m also trying to see how much of my privacy Buzz gives away.

Frazz is more a mirror. I’d completely forgotten about most of the Peanuts they’ve been running lately.

But, way back in the stone ages, when I was in Elementary School in the Harper Creek school district outside of Battle Creek, Michigan, we were in the midst of the ’70’s economic crash. ALL of the ‘enrichment’ activities for elementary school were cut – no band, no nothing. We played dodgeball two or three times a YEAR as physical education.

As the ‘smart’ kid in the class, I was usually in trouble for not paying attention. But, as I’d read my textbooks from cover to cover under my desk in the first month or two of school, when the teacher would call on me, I’d know the answer, even though I wasn’t paying a whit of attention.

So, they sent me to the library. (In junior high, they started sending me to the computer lab, but this was elementary school, and no-one’d donated any Apple IIe’s yet) And so I read. And read.

I started in about third grade with the picture book section – banged through all the Dr. Seuss, and didn’t bother with much more – no poetry, poor visuals.

Hit the Wizard of Oz series since I’d been in a local theater production as “the Beast Oz” and the King of the Munchkins (no scars on the persona of a short kid there, I tell you).

But the highlight was the Peanuts books. The library may have had absolutely every Peanuts treasury ever released, and I sat there and read every one of them, under the watchful eye of the librarian, who, in hindsight, I think suspected me of being a neo-Nazi, as I devoured all of the WWII books in the place, too.

I think I was open to most of the ideas behind Peanuts before my exile to the library – I was short, slow, and very much a Charlie Brown, if only because Charlie Brown always wanted to be the center of his circle of friends; to make things better than they would turn out without intervention. That was me; hands down.

Man, I love Peanuts.

This probably falls under “Way too much information, particularly from a random “buzz”‘, but I like it.

Why didn’t Charles Shultz ever win the Nobel Prize for Literature?

David Shares My Pain

Over at The Thin Trade, David’s struggling with the same thing I am: Namely not getting up off of the couch and into the rack every evening.

This week, though, I’m doing pretty well. I’m posed to hit all of my mid-week runs (One shifted by a couple of days, but still), and really looking forward to tomorrow’s long run. I’ve been doing the Men’s Health Two-Minute Drill after most runs, and it seems to make a difference.

Last night’s run was a good case in point. I got home late, and really, really didn’t want to. But, I jumped on the dreadmill and got it done, and felt tons better as soon as I was finished.

On the belly front, I’m not doing too well, but I haven’t lost any ground since Christmas. Lent for me is going to be giving up soda and fast food (Fast food loosely defined as anything with a white bread bun and french fries). Even though I usually drink diet soda, I’m beginning to believe in the studies that have shown that sugar-free soda tends to just stimulate your appetite so you overeat to compensate for the calories that aren’t in the soda.

Another trip at the beginning of next week – must prioritize exercise for the nights I’m out of town, or the workouts will be replaced by beer.

Hip’s advice last week was well timed – stop thinking about or trying to do stuff and just freaking do them. I do control the little stuff in my life, and can turn my concerns over the big stuff over to God.

Here’s to New Orleans – could this be the biggest Mardi Gras ever?

Status Update

Been Working (Day job and on the house), Running (As if it were a priority), and Sleeping (instead of blogging or wasting time).

Largely in that order.

Though I did watch It Might Get Loud. And can am left only with the thoughts of the Beastie Boys:

If I played guitar I’d be Jimmy Page.

The girlies I like are underage

Wait… forget that last bit…

Now, to find a track on which to run in the AM.

Does that count, Hip?

Beast-ly Boys

Or, Why I love New England, Edition #419

Missy’s out of town for the weekend (Houston Marathon tomorrow morning, bib #3291), so the boys and I are trying our best not to burn down the house.

Figuring out that it’s probably easiest NOT to burn down the house if we’re not in it, we headed up IH-91 to Berkshire East for a little bit of sliding downhill. Y’know, the “Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way, turn” type. And to FINALLY get the boys into ski school so I can stop feeling guilty about their not skiing as small kids.

When we got up to the hill, I told the boys that they may never have a nicer day on which to learn. Temps were in the mid-30’s, sunny, no wind, absolutely great packed powder, without the solid ice base that New England packed powder usually entails. Man, it was nice.

I dropped them off for an AM class, and jumped on the lift. Hadn’t skied in about 10 years (Don’t think I went the year Jake was born, and haven’t been downhill since), and was pleasantly surprised at how quickly the muscle memory came back. I did a couple of runs on the big, wide green slope, and then a couple of runs down some intermediate blues.

Berkshire East really strikes me as a skier’s mountain. The last time I was up there, probably 11 years ago, there wasn’t a green trail from the top of the chair lift all the way to the bottom of the mountain. At some point, you ended up on a trail that was rated blue. It was a mild blue, but a blue nontheless. This time, without removing or taming any of the existing blues, they’d added a great winding trail along the back side of the mountain.

They’d also added a double chair on the bunny slope, doing away with the rope tow, an even easier bunny hill with a moving carpet lift, and a whole new side of the mountain with a quad lift. The added area was great – the only lift we really had to wait for on the Saturday of a holiday weekend was the bunny lift.

After the kids’ lesson was over, we grabbed lunch, and I got to ski with them the rest of the day. What a treat to watch them learning. The instruction must have been pretty good – after the lesson they could both pretty reliably snowplow and get on and off the lift. Nate (age 5) had a tough time getting on the lift, mostly because it was hitting him in the middle of the back. But he could get off like a champ.

And the boys really surprised me. Jake’s usually a little wilder and rambunctious, and Nate’s usually thoughtful and reserved, so I figured those personalities would come out on the slopes. Turns out my expectations were inverted. Nate turns out to have my addiction to speed – all he wanted to do was point his skis downhill and let ‘er rip. Jake, on the other hand, was initially paralyzed the first time he was faced with a lip off of a jeep trail onto a slope. After a little pep talk and a couple of falls, though, he made up his mind that he was going to be in control, and started being very deliberate, and ended up figuring the control bit out really well by the end of the day.

I cannot wait to head back up, probably in February if I either a) Get the taxes done, or b) get much better about taking my lunch to work, saving $6/day on food. I’m pretty confident that the boys will be decent skiers, and they’re both pretty eager to get back. And, man, was it fun.

2010 Continued

Man, I’m loving life.

First, the Twitter (via William Gibson of Neuromancer fame) spits out this link about neo-cavemen (cave people?) in NYC. Absolutely fascinating, and Nassim Taleb makes an appearance (You have read Fooled by Randomness, right?). So, in one 5 minute diversion, I’ve got:

  • Meat.
  • Exercise
  • Math
  • Stickin’ it to the Man
  • References to squirrel hunting
  • Making fun of Vegans
  • Frenchies.
  • Ex-Navy guys about my age

Fascinating article, but I’m afraid it’d ask me to give up beer.

In other news, I had two great runs this weekend. The first was Saturday afternoon – I went long-ish from NAVSTA Newport to downtown after drill. Was just really, really nice to be out, and in the zone. Highlight was when a pre-family co-worker flagged me down across the street from the post office and introduced me to his girlfriend. She was nice, but the best part was being a decent enough person to work with to be flagged down socially.

Sunday afternoon, I went for a short run to blow out the carbon after the long run. The first half-mile was tough, but I stuck with it for 30 minutes, and felt GRATE! by the end of the run, and woke up feeling great this morning.

Tonite, I made it back to the Y pool for the first swim of 2010. Seems like the Mystic Y raised the pool temp about 5 degrees – it wasn’t painful to get in. I actually broke down and did about 600 yards of drills that I remembered from last winter’s swimming for dummies (Triathletes) class in addition to the standard warm-up/cooldown.

Let’s see about other stuff:

  • One of my running partners for the VT City Marathon training is on DailyMile with me. Very much like the RBF works to motivate me, knowing that there’s someone else out there getting fitter and faster than me is a huge motivator.
  • Similarly, I’m determined to figure out how some of the new “New Media” works. Want a Google Wave invite? Leave a comment.
  • Likewise, I’m all about the MIT Opencourseware Project. I set up a $99 monitor with an Apple TV and a VGA jack for my laptop, plopped my bike trainer in front of it, and I’m reviewing linear algebra and its application to computer science. All for the price of nothing (I’d bought the monitor for something else)
  • Found out that a high school classmate of mine is going to retire from the Army this year. Odd to think that I’m old enough to have retired friends. Happier to think that I can retire from the reserves in about 4 years. And thankful that there’s men and women in this (and other) countries who are willing to dedicate themselves to making the world safe for democracy.
  • Did the final cleaning on the old house. Scrubbed all the applicable floors with Murphy’s Oil Soap, and had a trip down memory lane to scrubbing the floors at the fraternity house on Sunday mornings (morning being loosely translated as noon-ish) after parties.

OK, that’s probably close to enough. Things I still owe:

  • Resolutions
  • Training plan for VT City
  • Pictures of the new house

ENOUGH! Go run.

EDIT: Two more quick things –

  • I’ve got a current intellectual crush on Karen Armstrong. Her book on The Bible is a great and short read. (And it’s out of the same Atlantic series that spawned PJ O’Rourke’s brilliant book on “On The Wealth of Nations”, so it uses small words). God is good, and expects us to be good to each other
  • Bag Balm. I’ve been suffering from some excema on my foot for about 9 months. Peeling, cracking, itching. I’d tried steroids from the doc, and some fancy stuff that Melissa recommended, and it just kept getting worse. Then, as we’re moving, I come across this tin of Bag Balm that we’ve had for a decade or more, since we treated a dog who’d had a run-in with a pricker bush. I figured “What the heck?” and smeared it on, and about 2 weeks later, I’m close to convinced that I’m finally going to get better. Just further proof that everything good comes from Vermont.

2010

So, “Billy Off” seems to have worked somewhat, but not nearly so well as 2 weeks of not eating crap, playing with the kids, and spending all day moving stuff around the house or doing building. I’m within spitting distance of 170, and feeling great.

I squeezed in two “Massive” (for current training volumes) long runs – an 11 miler the Saturday after Christmas with the group from the church (which CRUSHED me – I hadn’t run much in December, and hadn’t gone more than 5 or so since October and the pre-NYC flu); and did my 10 for 2010 on New Year’s day, which was a lovely run from the new house, around River Road, and back.

Did I mention we moved? Not far, but into a (very slightly) bigger house, with a slightly more manageable yard, more kids in the neighborhood, and half a mile of freaking uphill on the return from any bike or run. I’ve been telling the kids that if they learn to run from this house, they’ll be stars at cross country. I’ll post pictures from our upstairs windows – there’s even a view!

I’ll go into it a bit more later, but I’m not too sure I met too many of my 2009 goals. There’s always 2010 though. The short version for 2010 is:

  1. Colchester Half Marathon – 27 February
  2. Vermont City Marathon – 30 May
  3. Bluff Point Twilight Trail Run – 4 June! (Seems really, really late)
  4. At least 1 Olympic Triathlon during the summer
  5. Terramuggus race series, or other weekday tri series
  6. New Haven 20K – Labor Day
  7. Mystic YMCA Turkey Trot

Maybes include:

  • Blessing of the Fleet 10 miler – 24 July
  • Mystic Triathlon (depending on drill schedule)
  • Newport Naval Station Triathlon
  • An off-road tri
  • And jack and squat after New Haven

Major goals for the year:

  • Back under 160 lbs by New Haven
  • 4 hours at Vermont City
  • An unofficial Century on the bike in August
  • Two rides up to Smuggler’s Notch during our Stowe week in June/July.

We’ll hammer out the rest later this week. Hope everyone had Happy Holidays, a Merry Christmas (as applicable), and an exceptional 2010.

Billy Off Week 2 (Take 2)

Bad week this week. While I did the 2 minute drill every day, work and negotiation with the mortgage company have pretty much taken all the willpower I’ve been able to summon. Which means that I’m way behind. I didn’t weigh in today; I don’t think I put on any pounds, since during week 1, I went ahead and got rid of most of the snacky-cakes I had in the office. I even passed up communal cake in the coffee area. Yeah me.

So, I’ll weigh in Sunday morning and get in a good run. The Church pageant will be over, and everything will be settled with the new house on Monday. Then, there’s stripping and painting to be done, and my folks here, but that’s all stress that I can control.

Sigh. But not in a bad way; just wanted to maintain full disclosure here.

Happy Holidays for my friends lighting the menorah.